The host-culture informant that I decided to meet with was Mary Steele. She is an amazing woman who devotes and sacrifices her time to ensure our comfort here in Cork, Ireland. I ultimately chose to interview Mary to grasp a better understanding for what it was like to grow up in another country as well as to learn more about her overall. I also wanted to be able to legitimately compare the similarities and the differences between the everyday lives of an Irish to an American.
The first highlight from our discussion that I could relate to were the effects of the economic crash of 2008 and how tourism played a huge part of bringing the city back to life. Growing up in a tourist town myself, Cape Cod also faced many challenges during that time. Many people, mainly locals, wanted to keep the “old” Cape Cod charm alive and not allow any big tourist companies come and “ruin” the prosperity but without these attractions, Cape Cod would be completely non-existent right now. Mary was explaining that the same idea happened here around that time as well. She said that the Irish become more hospitable towards tourists instead of overpricing items and becoming hostile.
The second highlight that stuck out to me was how different the elderly are treated here compared to back home in America. In America, it is almost like it is a part of life, sad but true, to be put into elderly housing or another type of assisted living development. The younger generations are more carefully looked after than the elderly population. In Ireland, it is the exact opposite. The elderly population is considered more respectable than the younger generations by the government due to their knowledge of politics and knowing who to vote for. In America, the younger generations are more targeted during campaigns because we are the age group with the least voting outcomes every election.
The third highlight that was relatable was how people greet one another when it comes to naming. For example, when I’m sending e-mails to my professors at school, my biggest conflict is what to address them as: professor, doctor, or Mrs. In Ireland, it is much more formal when communicating. Teachers are referred to as “Doctor” unless specifically told otherwise. In America, it is much more informal but also can be extremely confusing. I think that the teachers in American take more pride in their degrees and the amount of schooling that they had to endure whereas in Ireland, the amount of schooling and research they conducted is important but they enjoy the aspects of being in the classroom and providing knowledge to teach their students. The classrooms are more relaxed and feel extremely more natural than back home because the teachers are actually enjoying what they are teaching.
A specific part of home that I do not participate with solely due to the fact that I have not given it much thought would be the sororities on campus. From what I know, they are really expensive to join but they do a lot of amazing things for the surrounding community. I have many friends that are in various sororities and have heard both positive and negative opinions about the different characteristics of participating in one. In America, Greek Life primarily holds a negative stigma of hazing among other things but also hold the positive ideals of everything their sorority or fraternity stand for. If I were to sit down and talk to someone in the Panhellenic society and inquire more information, I am absolutely sure that my opinion would be changed because I would be more informed but I would still have no desire to join a sorority. The media portrays Greek Life in both positive and negative ways and I feel like if people took more time to really understand what they do and what they believe in, there would be more positive news having to do with them, thus informing the general community more.